Amid the piles of guitars and amplifiers we have stacked up in our offices, it’s always nice to review something slightly off the beaten path that’s closely related to the gear we cover. And as someone who loves and consistently uses Marshall amps, imagine my joy upon receiving the Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth—a powerful active Bluetooth speaker that looks like a portable Marshall amp with throwback vintage styling.
Out of the box, the Stanmore’s substantial weight lets me know it might get loud, with dual high-end tweeters and a robust woofer for full-range stereo sound rated at 80 watts. Its seamless Bluetooth connectivity (via a Pair button) puts it in league with other Bluetooth speakers, but having dual RCA inputs and a 1/8–inch auxiliary input (Marshall even includes a 1/8–inch double-ended stereo plug) makes the Marshall Stanmore totally geared toward musicians and analog music junkies who haven’t completely shelved their old-school turntables and cassette decks.
Showing off classic Marshall coolness, the Stanmore features a gold-script Marshall logo, black vinyl tolex with gold piping and checkered grill cloth. The same volume, bass and treble knobs found on Marshall’s flagship amplifiers are employed here, along with a gold-plated on/off switch. A Source button scrolls through three LED indicators (for Bluetooth, input 1, input 2) letting you know which selection is active.
Turning up the Stanmore—no, it doesn’t go to 11—can flood any man cave or cubicle with gut-pounding volume and kicks major ass in crystal clear sound and projection. It’s a superb hi-fidelity speaker that can go toe-to-toe with most studio monitors. The bass and treble knobs sweep a broad frequency spectrum and work just like a Marshall amp, allowing your ears to find the Stanmore’s sweet spot. Get it.
STREET PRICE: $349
MANUFACTURER: Marshall Amplification, marshallheadphones.com